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Intel brings quad-core processors to Ultrabook for the first time

We’ve been expecting Intel Coffee Lake for the longest time, however, the chipmaker just announced its 8th generation CPUs will be a Kaby Lake Refresh.

Before you get too disappointed though, this tick-tock-tock update is bringing some big developments including some of the first quad-core U-series processors. Intel latest batch of Core i5 and i7 CPUs destined for Ultrabooks will see a doubling of Core- and Thread-counts.

Additionally, 8th generation Intel Core processors introduce Intel UHD Graphics, allowing laptops to better handle 4K content purely on Integrated graphics. This new form of on-board graphics will also allow users to connect their Ultrabooks to up to three Ultra HD displays at the same time and power Windows Mixed Reality experiences – though Ultra level experiences will still require dedicated graphics.

Intel claims users should see up to a 40% performance increase over its last generation of processors. According to the company, Kaby Lake Refresh brings a two-times increase in both productivity performance and web performance.

Users can supposedly expect to render a 4K video in just three minutes and edit photos in Lightroom up to 28% faster than 7th generation Kaby Lake chips. However, without solid details of those tests, we’ll wait to see how well it performs before we put stock into those figures.

On the backs of giants

Kaby Lake Refresh is built on Intels 14nm Plus architecture and while it doesn’t come with a decrease in die size, the company has made plenty power managements for both performance and battery life. In fact, Intel sees up to 10 hours of battery life on devices with sleek designs.

Intel’s 8th generation architecture will also bring Optane memory support to laptops, which should be a big boon to budget notebooks equipped with only a hard drive for storage. Meanwhile, Intel Online Connect extends fingerprint authentication to a touch to pay system – similar to Touch ID on MacBook Pros – and two-factor authentication.

Thus far, Intel has only officially announced four Intel Core i7 chips, but the chipmaker promises its working with hardware manufacturers to bring 145 laptop designs by September.

Further into the fall and into next year we’re likely – given the history of Kaby Lake's roll out – to see a whole new line of Y-Series for fanless and ultrathin systems or K-series for gaming laptops and workstations. Of course, a new slew of desktop chips is surely on the way and could bring their own increase in Cores.

  • The best laptops are only going to get better with Kaby Lake Refresh

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